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Equal Marriage, One Year Later:

Green Gaia

Veteran Member
Equal Marriage, One Year Later:
UUA Toasts Vitality of Marriage in Massachusetts

View the celebration RealVideo Instructions

(Boston, May 17, 2005) As party-goers moved up the stairs of UUA headquarters past thousands of hearts sent in by Unitarian Universalist children across the country to honor the first anniversary of equal marriage in Massachusetts, music played in Eliot Hall and Unitarian Universalist couples wed in the last year gathered to toast the vitality of marriage in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The UUA, site of the marriage of Hillary and Julie Goodridge (lead plaintiffs in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health) one year ago, had love blooming everywhere, as the paper hearts sent from across the United States bore their messages of congratulations and support saying “same sex marriage – rock and roll” and “happy anniversary, long live love.”

The Rev. William G. Sinkford, President of the UUA, welcomed guests to the anniversary party. In attendance, in addition to Hillary and Julie Goodridge and their daughter Annie, were the other Unitarian Universalist plaintiff couples in the landmark civil right suit: David Wilson and Robert Compton, Gloria Bailey and Linda Davies, and Ed Balmelli and Michael Horgan. Also in attendance were Ellen Wade, Richard Linnell and Gary Chalmers, plaintiffs in the GLAD case, as well as Attorney Mary Bonauto, who successfully argued the case in front of the Massachusetts Supreme Court.

Many other Unitarian Universalist couples from across Massachusetts also attended and were moved by the four toasts offered at the gathering. President William Sinkford, who co-officiated at the marriage of the Goodridges, remarked on his pleasure that “marriage is alive and well in the State of Massachusetts.” Hillary Goodridge (joined by her wife Julie and daughter Annie) reflected on how “the capacity of people to love outweighs fear,” and how “seeing people in love is a powerful thing.” Peter Hams, the son of Marcia Hams and Susan Shepard (representing the children of equal marriage couples), offered a third toast, remarking to the children present at the event, “this is for you,” and encouraging couples who had not yet had children to consider doing so saying, “this is a great thing.” The Rev. David Pettee, the first Unitarian Universalist minister to pledge not to sign marriage licenses until they were first made available to same sex couples, did not sign a marriage license again until after May 17, 2004. He toasted Hillary and Julie Goodridge and Attorney Mary Bonauto, saying, “you have been an inspiration to us all.”

President Sinkford invited the plaintiff couples and Mary Bonauto to cut into the lemon/raspberry butter cream cake made by Cambridge Unitarian Universalist Rachel Herman and streamers flew across Eliot Hall in celebration of the day. The couples left to UUA for a series of celebratory events, including a party at the Parkman House (next door to UUA headquarters) hosted by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, a photograph in front of the Massachusetts State House, and other anniversary parties scheduled for this evening in honor of this historic anniversary.

—Reported by Deborah Weiner




Active Member

First off, I want to clarify in this post that I am straight. Whether or not Marriage becomes equal for all people does not personally affect me. My better 3/4ths and I can go to the courthouse and get married any time we want to, because I'm a guy and she's a gal.

But we have not, and partially because marriage as it currently stands is unjust, unequal, and unamerican. You cannot tell someone they cant sign a contract because they are gay, but you can tell them they are not allowed to sign a marriage contract becasue they are gay.

I performed my first "Same Sex Committment Ceremony" a few weeks ago. I am a Lay-Minister and seminary student, and my church/fellowship has authorized me to perform weddings. The Ceremony I did a few weeks ago for a same-sex couple was the first time I performed the ceremony, but was not allowed to sign a liscense. It was amazingly unjust, and un-American. We are treating them as if they are second-class citizens.

Our nation proved that "separate but equal" is neither separate or equal in the 1950's, and we are repeating that mistake again.

Now, ideally I would like to remove the government entirely from the business of marriage. Churches should be free to perform a marriage ceremony for anyone they please. If your church does not want to perform such ceremonies for Gay people, then fine, you dont have to.

But I think the Government should quit recognizing such ceremonies. I believe that if you want the legal benefits currently conferred by marriage, you should have to go get a Civil Union. Gay or Straight; male or female; black or white; black and white; all should be treated equally. Also, my plan would respect the separation of Church and State by ending the practice of religious leaders certifying a civil contract.

Now, understand, I am writing this as a straight male future minister who currently is authorized to perform wedding ceremonies. My faith makes decisions on who to perform ceremonies for based upon an understanding of the couple, their reasons for marriage, their preparation for marriage, and their understanding of marriage. I have turned down two couples, one for getting in a fight in front of me during an interview (you would think they would be on good behavior, and if that was good behavior, I was uncomfortable performing the ceremony) and another which turned out to be an immigration issue.

I would never turn down a loving, caring, committed couple, no matter what their sexual orientation was. To do so is to me un just, un equal, and un american.

I would like to point anyone who is interested to an organization that I support... www.justmatrimony.org .

YoUUrs in Faith,

David Pyle
Galveston Island, TX